I was asked to speak about how to comfort someone when tragedy strikes. I can’t speak for others but the following thoughts best describe my personal experience.
Don’t hesitate – go ahead and reach out. Send a note, a card, an email or leave a voice message saying, “I just want you to know I’m here for you.”
Do hold their hand and cry with them.
Bring them food, gift cards and Kleenex and listen, really listen to them when they’re telling you just how broken they feel. Don’t try to fix it. Just be there.
When horrible things happen, what the person really wants to know is that people love them and will be there for them. They want to know they are not alone or forgotten.
In the days following a tragedy, don’t talk about a silver lining or how great things are going to be once they get on the other side of whatever it is they’re facing, but do hang on to all that hope and faith and optimism. Hold it in your heart for them; they may not be ready or willing to talk about it. Someday, when they are emotionally ready to receive it, it might help them down that long road of recovery.
Don’t get into deep discussions about God’s will, destiny or karma. Tragedy brings shock and terrible pain. Our whole world has changed and God’s role in that may be undefined and unresolved. Actively pray for the wisdom to think clearly as they sort through an avalanche of facts that will require life changing decisions. Taking on the responsibility of prayer for them is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. It will give them time to process, heal and grow.
During, and after, a tragedy has happened all that is needed is love, hope and quiet strength. For now just love them and be there in what ever way you can, xoxo